I write everything on the calendar. If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen. I’d like to blame it on my age, but it is mostly as a result of being JUST TOO BUSY. At the end of each year, I put them away with my tax papers. As a result, I can go back to nearly every year since we were married and find important dates. I blame my mother-in-law for that. She even added the weather of the day and could always tell us when the first snowfall of the previous year was. She was a trivia nut.
The good news is that it affords me the opportunity to go through the calendar at the end of each year and see the blessings. It help me to refocus. It is easier to get caught up with what is NOT going well, than it is to focus on what God has guided us through.
Last January, my husband was still dealing with the affects of a weeding project gone wrong. He had been weeding out by the bunker silo, and he dragged his bottom across some rebar that was sticking out of the concrete. The rusty thick wire went into his butt cheek and broke off. We didn’t know it at the time, so he painfully dealt with it for a week before having it surgically removed. This was in August. We went through weeks of visiting home care nurses coming to the house to pack and repack before we realized that it just wasn’t getting any better. The doctor took another x-ray and sure enough, they hadn’t gotten it all and he had to be operated on a second time. This time the incision was about as big as a quarter and about two inches deep. Thank God for home health care and nurses willing to come to our home to change bandages. I am NO NURSE.
Blessing Number 1: Traveling Nurses
Doctors, Doctors, and more Doctors. As we prepared for our upcoming SSDI Hearing, it seemed we were swamped in paperwork and doctors visits. However, we did get a week reprieve when the family convened in Florida. We met up with our oldest and his family and celebrated my husband’s 49th birthday in a hotel room. Our grandson and I walked up to the local Walgreens and purchased decorations, and “surprised” his grandfather when he woke from his nap. We sang, ate cake, soaked up the sun, and enjoyed our precious family time.
Blessing Number 2: Time With Our Children
In February we finally were scheduled for our Social Security Disability Insurance Hearing. We had been denied twice, despite medical paperwork that was knee high. We hired a company to represent us for a small fee of $6000. The team of lawyers were our 4th, hired for various tasks over a two year period. On the BIG DAY we were nervous wrecks and the mood did not lighten as we looked out the window. It was snowing AGAIN. Within moments of leaving, we received a call from the District Court: our appointment was cancelled due to snow. I’m not going to lie, we cried. Within another half hour we received a call from our lawyer. The judge had reviewed our case and we won!
Blessing Number 3: Snow
Also in February, my husband began to complain of knee pain. After an x-ray, we were told that he was going to have to have surgery. We were both so disappointed. He still hadn’t quite recovered from the last one! We saw a specialist in the area, with a cute English accent, who studied his pictures and we were told that he had arthritis. He prescribed a medication that was a Godsend and as a result, he has been able to sleep in our bed. We had been sleeping in two different beds since 2002.
Blessing Number 4: Medication
In the meantime, we had been joining (and still are) another couple from church for supper about once a month. They cook for us, we visit, laugh, share stories, pray, and sometimes watch movies together. It is something we have grown to really look forward to. It has really uplifted our sprites.
Blessing Number 5: Friends
In April I finally relented to allow my husband to get a dog. Our desire was to train her to be a Dementia/Alzheimer’s Dog. Kindle has been both a challenge and a blessing but we love her very much. She has joined us at the beach, kept us company while we are home, and is a faithful companion. She loves treats, to be patted, to go for rides, and her bed. She is curious, and when left off the line, she runs the entire town until she decides to return an hour later, exhausted.
Blessing Number 6: Pets
By May, the weather was nice enough so that my husband could get outside. He was able to help my parents and my brother a few hours a week on the farm, as well as work in our own yard. It was a Godsend. Not only did it give him a purpose, and an opportunity to help care for our needs, it was helpful to my family.
Blessing Number 7: The Family Farm
School was out in June and I was able to spend days with my favorite man. Together, we helped on the farm a few hours a week, but even better, we were able to spend quality time together. We worked outside, we walked by the beach, we took a few ice cream runs, and enjoyed time with family and friends as much as possible.
Blessing Number 8: Summer Vacation
In July, our oldest daughter took me to NYC for 6 days. A family friend kept an eye on my husband, and we had THE MOST WONDERFUL time. We rode on open top busses, toured the 9/11 Memorial, went to a show, took a boat around the statue of liberty, and explored Times Square. It was just what the doctor ordered, and aside from a speeding ticket on the way down, we couldn’t have had a more perfect vacation.
Blessing Number 9: R & R
When I returned, I started Summer School. One of my peers taught the first two weeks, and I took the second. It was perfect. It gave me a little extra money toward bills, yet it didn’t take up too much of my summer. I also was able to take two paid trainings that also helped with summer bills.
Blessing 10: Summer School & Training Opportunities
During the summer, I made it my focus to reduce the amount of medications that my husband had to take. While our doctor was home on maternity leave, we worked with another physician who was on board with helping us to do just that. I am happy to report that we went from 28 pills a day to 14 by the time school started.
Blessing 11: Doctors
In August we planned a family reunion at our home and were able to entertain 51 members from my husband’s side of the family. The day was perfect, the weather cooperated, the fire department made chicken, and everyone enjoyed one another. It meant so much to my husband to see family that he hadn’t seen in years. The next day, our son and his family surprised us with a 9 day trip home. We played yard games, made an outside campfire every night, we danced, ate, visited, gathered, and thoroughly enjoyed one another. During the visit we celebrated 3 family birthdays. You couldn’t have found happier parents. We joust loved having our children all together, getting along.
Blessing 12: Family Gatherings
In September, school began again. My husband continued to work weeding, mowing, more weeding, and more mowing. However, we so pleased to be able to see our stone set in the local cemetery, located across from the church we attend and our family’s farm where we raised our children. We enjoyed choosing out just the right design and are pleased with how it turned out.
Blessings 13: A Final Resting Place
We also helped family during the fair weekend, as they sold maple supplies, products, and compost. It always feels nice to be part of the family, especially as my parents age. I like helping my mother. I admire her, and would consider it an honor to be compared to her.
Blessing 14: More Family Time
Since October, life has just continued on. I go to school each day. My husband spends many of his days with our youngest and enjoys cooking, and caring for our home. He does the laundry, the dishes, and keeps our home very neat.
We enjoyed a week off for Thanksgiving and Black Friday as we began our Christmas shopping. We enjoy family time, caring for the little ones during AWANA once a week, watching the fire in the wood stove, Face Time with our son and his family, meals out with friends and watching the lights on the Christmas tree.
Doctor’s appointments have dwindled to 3-6 month visits, so life has quieted down a bit. We thank God for our children, jobs that tire us out but pay our bills, for cars that run and tires that keep us on the road. We are grateful for haircuts, painted nails, candles, good smelling lotion, surprise gifts, and a warm comfortable place to lay our heads at the end of the day. We look forward to more family gatherings and lots of good food, but more than anything we are thankful for health that is easily managed.
Blessing 15: The Ability to Just Keep Going
So in these days of negativity everywhere you turn, may we all focus on the blessings. Oprah suggested years ago that people keep a journal of 2 blessings/day. It helps to focus on the good stuff. It is always easy to come up with the things that aren’t working in our lives, but today I challenge us all to notice the blessings. May next year be full of them!